January 31, 2008
A quick glance at RCP poll averages for Super Tuesday makes it clear that we need to start girding ourselves for the contemplation of a prospect truly terrifying”President McCain. Our friend Leon Hadar has already started starring into the abyss:
For those of us who opposed the Iraq War and W’s foreign policy”and for opponents of Big Government, in general”all of this [the coming McCain GOP nomination] is VERY BAD news.
Bush is basically a lazy person with little interest in global affairs and all his warmongering was all about winning elections, not about fighting wars. He really doesn”t like sitting late at night in the Situation Room “managing” a global crisis. He prefers to go to bed (to sleep).
But McCain LOVES all of that. Another Cuban-Missile-Crisis-like atmosphere in the White House where he could play the War President. It’s a form of Viagra for this mummy-like creature. It could keep him alive and kicking for eight more years during which the Warfare State will run amok, including the … reinstatement of the draft. Sometime in 2010 we”ll have no choice but to admit that we are really starting to miss W.”
We should be wary of any dailykos-like rants about “the Republicans are going to reinstate the draft and install fascism ahhh!” but I generally think that Hadar is raising a real possibility. As Justin pointed out last night in his live-blogging, McCain’s war-hero identity often leads him to conflate politics with military duty. His “I led for patriotism, not for profit” was, of course, a thinly disguised shot at Romney, Mr. multi-millionaire. But what is McCain actually saying here? I don”t know how useful McCain’s experience leading a military brigade would be in the White House”unless one imagines the president’s central role as dealing with soldiers in a series of war crises. (Moreover, McCain statement begs the question, would Romney be more qualified for the presidency if he had notprofited during his time in the non-military sector? Is McCain bringing into doubt the leadership of every person who’s been so slimy as to make money from a business transaction?)
Anyway, the point is that while Bush wanted us to fight terror by going shopping, McCain might try to revive that old 9/11 feeling through enlistment.
Hadar goes on:
“Finally, I do hope that Dr. Paul runs as a third-party candidate and makes it more likely that the Republicans lose, providing them with an opportunity to reinvent themselves.”
From what I”m hearing, a third-party bid is not very likely”Paul doesn”t have particularly good memories from his Libertarian candidacy in “88, and judging from his recent debate performances, his heart no longer seems to be in his current run.
This aside, Hadar thinks a Ron Paul third party would be positive only in that it would derail a likely McCain victory in November. In Hadar’s mind, the senator will win with Bush’s “04 strategy: using “foreign policy/national security” especially against the backdrop of a possible confrontation with Iran … and the alleged “success in Iraq”to bash Hillary and the Democrats as “appeasers” etc.”
While I think McCain would probably run like this, I”m not so sure it would work. I generally think the public is tired of the 9/11 paradigm. Whatever you want to say about Huckabee & Obama (I don”t have much of anything good to say about either), they”ve beaten the establishment’s erstwhile “inevitable” candidates by running outside the 9/11 box”no Kerry-esque “reporting for duty” here. Moreover, Romney has consistently finished second on “change” + “Washington is broken” rhetoric. The fact is that a McCainian GOP would probably lose hard in November with or without a Paul third-party run. Nevertheless, whether the establishment and base is really willing to “reinvent themselves” afterwards is doubtful”as what? led by whom?
Still, there’s a certain bleak fatalistic fun in contemplating the composition of a McCain admin:
As Hadar see’s it:
Vice-President: Rice or Huckabee or Lieberman.
Pentagon: Giuliani or Rice or Lieberman.
State: Robert Kagan.
CIA: Giuliani or Gary Schmitt.
Colonial Office: Niall Ferguson.
Treasury: Robert Zoellick.
Representative in Israel: Bibi Netanyahu
I”ll nominate Denis Miller as Minister of Culture and John Podhoretz as Poetic-Reference-to-1938 Laureate.